As a small brick-and-mortar jeweler with retail stores in Central Florida, Goldsmith Jewelry may seem like an unlikely potential e-tail star.
Goldsmith, however, has had early success by using blogging to drive traffic to its Web site and gain exposure for its fledging Internet store. The company is committed to continuing and refining those efforts, said Don Lair, the online arm’s cofounder.
Since it is new to the Web, gaining name recognition among online shoppers is no small feat for Goldsmith, a well-known brand in the Orlando area.
Despite efforts to maximize its search results organically, the site was drawing few users shortly after its launch. “Our site wasn’t coming up in search engines, and the Web division wasn’t adding much to the bottom line,” Lair told the E-Commerce Times.
A single campaign later, the firm had racked up a 400 percent increase in traffic generated by search engines, mainly as the result of close to 100 blog posts generated by a contest.
“We are way ahead of where we were before the campaign,” Lair said.
Many businesses are eager to leverage the blogosphere for marketing and e-commerce gain. So-called viral marketing is a much sought-after commodity, but often one hard to capture, especially for small companies.
“The lure of capturing the blog zeitgeist is not only to be able to generate traffic at low cost, but to generate quality, relevant traffic that way,” Forrester Research analyst Josh Bernoff told the E-Commerce Times. “There is no magical formula for it, but every day more businesses of all sizes are figuring out ways to plug into the social media phenomenon for their own benefit.”
For Goldsmith, blogs made an ideal target for a run-up promotion to Valentine’s Day. The jeweler offered a pair of diamond earrings worth US$1,500, with anyone who blogged about Goldsmith — good, bad or indifferent — eligible to win.
“The only requirements were that the blogger write about Goldsmith Jewelry and that they mention the contest,” Lair said. “It could be positive or negative, and would still be a valid entry.”
Lair set about contacting scores of bloggers, working through Technorati and other blog search tools and focusing mainly on blogs with smaller audiences. He contacted close to 1,000 bloggers by e-mail and received 75 entries directly. Another 2,000 unique visitors were referred directly to the site by the postings on the blogs that entered the contest.
The long-term value, as Lair sees it, however, lies in the more than 300 new links to the Goldsmith site, links that dramatically increased the profile of Goldsmith in organic search results, with the firm near or on the first page of results for many relevant queries.
“I would have loved to see a viral explosion of interest and 10,000 entries,” Lair commented, adding that he was happy with the response and the results. “The results weren’t miraculous, but it was definitely worth the investment of time and money that we put in. We are in a much better position now than we were six months ago.”
Still, Lair’s goal is to drive Goldsmith into the top 500 Internet retailers, and he is already eying ways to improve any future efforts to leverage the power of blogs to help provide the power to get there.